Houston
Houston Astros relief pitcher Ryan Pressly (55) and first baseman Yuli Gurriel (10) celebrate after beating the New York Yankees in Game 4 of an American League Championship baseball series, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The Birth of a Juggernaut: The Rise of the Houston Astros

The year is 2011. The Houston Astros, having traded fan favorites Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt the season before, are in a downward spiral. The team was 76-86 in 2010, but it would not even crack 60 wins in 2011. It can’t get any worse, right?

Wrong.

In their last season in the National League, the Astros won 55 games. In 2013, the team’s first season in the American League, things went from bad, to worse, to unfathomably abysmal. The Houston Astros finished the 2013 MLB season with a 51-111 record.

But behind the scenes, the Astros were hitting home runs.

The Birth of the Houston Problem

Despite a horrid 2011 season, the team saw the debut of a young second baseman named Jose Altuve. Altuve made his first all-star team in 2012. And while the team was striking out on the field, it was hitting bombs in the draft.

With its 2011 first-round pick, the team selected outfielder George Springer. And after an awful year, the team had the first overall pick in 2012. It used the selection to take shortstop Carlos Correa.

Fast forward to 2015, and the Astros are coming off of a 70-win season. The team had improved enough to make the postseason that year, but again its biggest victories were off the field. With two picks in the top five of the 2015 MLB draft, the Astros took infielder Alex Bregman and outfielder Kyle Tucker.

By 2022, Altuve, Springer, Correa, Bregman and Tucker have all represented the Astros as All-Stars.

 

The Arrival

The young, talented Astros team which had started the decade with three straight seasons under 60 wins was a powerhouse by 2017. American League MVP Jose Altuve headlined a lineup with first time all-stars Springer and Correa, who were three of six Astros to make the team.

Despite missing the all-star team, Bregman was stellar. He batted .284 with 19 home runs playing third base for Houston.

The team added 2011 Triple Crown winner Justin Verlander midway through the season and won the franchise’s first World Series.

https://twitter.com/astros/status/1600957318732062737?s=20&t=ewHu1T0zO5H0VZvCBXxUOA

Mainstays

Despite the cheating scandal, which has had the 2017 team under scrutiny since it won, the team’s talent was and is undeniable. In 2022, the team is coming off of its second World Series title in its fourth appearance since 2017. The Astros have been in the AL Championship Series every single year, since then.

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